Knoxville business wins national Top Workplaces designation for a great company culture

A Knoxville business has received a national award for its company culture.

Harper Auto Square has won the Top Workplaces USA 2021 designation. This is the first year the annual company culture award has been given on a national level.

The list was announced Jan. 28. The award recognizes organizations that maintain a people-centric culture where employees have a voice.

"It's just so nice to see a group of people continue a culture that's different than every dealership," Harper Auto Square president Shannon Harper told Knox News. "We try to be the anti-dealership by creating a culture of seven core values. We wouldn't be winning awards if our people weren't living those cultural values, sharing those cultural values and executing a vision consistently across the dealership. It's just all about the people to me. It's just a reflection I think of a great team of people that work their tails off."

Top Workplaces is an annual award given in East Tennessee by Knox News and magazine in partnership with survey firm Energage. Energage partners with media companies in 54 markets to recognize Top Workplaces.

More than 1,100 business participated in the national competition. Any organization with at least 150 employees in the U.S. was eligible and the results were compiled and compared with Energage's industry benchmarks.

“During this very challenging time, Top Workplaces has proven to be a beacon of light for organizations, as well as a sign of resiliency and strong business performance," Energage CEO Eric Rubino said in a press release. "When you give your employees a voice, you come together to navigate challenges and shape your path forward. Top Workplaces draw on real-time insights into what works best for their organization, so they can make informed decisions that have a positive impact on their people and their business.”

In 2020, 35 East Tennessee businesses received the Top Workplaces designation, including Harper Auto Square in the midsize businesses category. Harper Auto Square has received the designation for four consecutive years.


Founded in 1981, the auto dealership has eight locations and 315 employees in the greater Knoxville area.

"Our vision is to be the best and most well-respected dealership group in the country," Harper said. "Not the biggest, not the highest volume, but the best. And winning awards like this is a symbol of success and a symbol of doing the right things."

Source: Knoxville News Sentinel Brenna McDermott

The East Tennessee Economic Development Agency markets and recruits business for the 15 counties in the greater Knoxville-Oak Ridge region of East Tennessee. Visit

Published January 28, 2021